The latest trend in dog grooming has turned canines into visual works of art. Groomer Catherine Opson has mastered the technique of dog colouring and frequently lends her talents to the clients of her salon, Estrella Pet Grooming in Capistrano Beach, in California.
Opson most recently transformed her poodle Kobe into amalgam of various Sesame Street characters. The poodle's front resembles Big Bird, Elmo on one side, and Bert and Ernie on the other. The design took first prize in a major dog grooming competition.
Opson, whose education is in cosmetology, said:
The idea that it's abusive, I mean we use very pet safe products. They're made for pets. We do it in short increments. It's a misconception that they stand on tables for days at a time to get it done. They are only up here a short while. Then they get down; they take breaks.
I can understand people not liking it and not thinking that it's for them, but just like people don't like tattoos that doesn't give you the right to judge people who have tattoos, that something's bad about them, or people with pink hair, or anything, just because it's something different but isn't your cup of tea, doesn't mean that it's not fine for other people.
For her creations Opson said she uses special dog-friendly dyes that are free of harmful bleaches, ammonia, or any other chemicals that could hurt the animals. She knows some people may think her designs are ridiculous, or even a form of animal abuse, but to those people she says, just have an open mind.
Her other poodle, Porsche, was transformed into a collection of The Simpsons characters. Other creations Opson has cooked up include a doggy koi pond, complete with goldfish, and a tropical jungle theme, with parrots and and frogs.